Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chess Miscellany

Wow - I just saw one of those "TODAY IN HISTORY" things that today, November 5:  In 1992, U.S. chess legend Bobby Fischer clinched a $5 million chess match against Russian Boris Spassky, marking a triumphant return after 20 years in self-imposed obscurity.

Was it this match that led to the sad end of Robert James Fischer? He died a permanent exile who did not even attend the funeral of his only sibling, his older sister, Joan Targ.  Perhaps they had been estranged for many years at the time.  With Fischer, one never knew.  When Fischer died in 2008 without a Will, a big fight ensued over what was left of his "fortune" - I suspect a very large junk of it was eaten up in legal fees!  The Filippino lady who claimed that her daughter was Fischer's lost her claim when DNA testing excluded Fischer as the child's father.  A Japanese woman, Miyoko Watai, a pharmacist and the president of the Japan Chess Association, produced documentary evidence of a 2004 marriage to Fischer to the satisfaction of the Court in Iceland that was probating the Estate, was determined her to be Fischer's legal heir.   I suppose I'm a sap, but I do hope that in his final years Robert James Fischer found some happiness with a female companion. 

Visiting some of the chess femme blogs:

At GM Alexandra Kosteniuk's blog, she posted an obituary/article for former chessplayer Andrija Fuderer (of the former Yugoslavia, later moved to Spain).  One can only wonder - what might have been if he had continued to play chess as a full-time career...

GM Kosteniuk is playing on the Russian Women's Team (Board 4, alternating with WGM Natalia Pogonina) in the European Team Chess Championships currently taking place in Greece.  So far, she is 2 for 2!  You Go Girl!

At GM Susan Polgar's blog, I am thinking about putting her in my Will after she published this photograph of an absolutely smoking hot Vassily Ivanchuk from 1991.  OHMYGODDESS!  Be still, oh my heart.  The game wasn't bad either...  Come to think of it, I was probably pretty hot back in 1991 too.  Oh time, time, time, what you have done to us?  Thicker around the middle and, at least in Ivanchuk's case, much greyer hair too.  Hmmm, actually I've probably aged fairly well.  Okay, enough ego talk.  I owe it all to my sister Yvonne's L'Bri products.  Miracles in little jars and bottles...

A great way to help kids and chess - contribute a chess set and board!  This article Mr. Solomon's Chess Gifts posted at SP's blog - what can I say?  Inspirational, wonderful, awesome!

Visting favorite person Elizabeth Vicary's chess blog, she has posted several "snapshots" of board positions of her chess kids from a recent match and I COULDN'T UNDERSTAND ANY OF THEM.  Oh my, my new chess coach is certainly going to face a daunting uphill battle - I'm hopeless!  And he thought I was joking when I warned him about battle pay in an email.  Hmmm...  The photographs of the kids - how can anyone not fall in love with these kids?  Oh, those faces!  They make me want to cry - tears of happiness, tears of empathy.  Gee, I really am getting sentimental in my later years.  I've never been particularly fond of children, but they do seem to be particularly fond of me.  Perverse. 

This photo brought a smile to my face:  It's Elizabeth Vicary analyzing with Michael Yu.  I gave my very own second chess lesson to a co-worker yesterday, and I swear I had that exact intense look on my face, and that exact same body position - uncanny!  Will the right answer out of him, Lizzy!  Maybe it's a sort of universal position for coaches - except for the dorky yet fashionable hat, I aint gonna wear one of those, at my age I'd look like a bag lady.

Anyway, she - I mean my pupil - did very well.  She remembered the names of most of the pieces and their respective moves even though we weren't able to have a lesson last week Friday.  She confused the Rook and the Bishop but that's probably my fault, I should not have gone into that little bit of chess herstory about how the Rooks and the Bishops switched places back in ancient times, or how the game is said to have been invented in India, but everyone really knows it was the Persians who did it... I shouldn't ramble on so, but she seems fascinated by the ancientness of it all, and you should hear her say "Ja'doube"!  She loves the word!  She loves the concept!  Oh my, I've got a captive audience and I'm playing the Ham to the Hilt.  Sigh.  Yesterday I explained to her how the Persian "ruhkh" became the "rook."  What possible relevance this has to moving the pieces around on the board - NONE. 

After our review, we went through some simple moves and I also attempted to explain "castling" and how to do it Queenside and Kingside.  Her head didn't explode so I think she's okay.  Next lesson we're actually going to start playing and move by move we will question each and every move.  I may actually learn something myself.

Oh, the exquisite irony.  Here I am, acting as a chess coach ("acting" is the key word in this sentence), and I don't know a damn thing about how to actually to play the game, but I do know a lot about it's ancient beginnings; and there I will be on the 14th of the month, sitting across from my own chess coach for the very first time, gulping and wishing with all my might that I won't make an absolute fool of myself.  But, I probably will.  Such is life, darlings! 

But back to Elizabeth Vicary and the school where she teaches, IS 318 in Brooklyn, New York USA.  A film crew who has filmed massive amounts of chess stuff with the IS 318 kids and is hoping to prune it all down to an award-winning documentary (like producer Lynn Hamrick's "Chess Kids") are looking to raise some money so they can refine a final product and tout it around all the various places that such films have to be touted in order to get enough recognition to be put on the list of nominees for film awards, etc. etc.  Sounds absolutely exhausting!  Why would anyone undertake such a project, Ms. Not-So-Innocent (me, darlings) asks?  I saw the information/request for contributions at both Alexandra's blog and Susan's blog, so here's some more information.  I think it's a great cause because it involves (1) chess and (2) kids and (3) IS 318 (but IS 318 could be any school in the country that has a great chess program). 

You know what - since I lost my three faithful canine companions, Tasha being the last to die, she went to The Happy Hunting Grounds in 2004, I've become absolutely fanatical about chess.  Am I substituting chess for not having had children, replacing children with dogs, and now that I no longer wish to have official pets (my assorted backyard wildlife faithfully fed for the past 21 years do not count as pets) replacing dogs with chess?  What would Freud say?  Okay, I can't say what I really want to say about Freud without a lot of profanity and vulgarity, so nix that thought...

WGM Alina L'Ami's blog always has such fascinating articles at her blog.  If you come back to Montreal in 2012, Alina, to defend your title as Female Champion of the City of Montreal Open, I hope to meet you.  I'm planning on being there.  Just how I'm going to manage that, I don't know; if I make an appearance at every event we're sponsoring in 2012 I'll be on the road A LOT.  Oh my poor pocketbook!  In hindsight, I really should have married that millionaire back in 1974.  Oh well.  My life may not have taken a chessly turn if I had...

Alina has words of wisdom about losing in chess and Lady Luck, and her words could not be more timely as I am going from bad to worse in my online games with Shira Evans Sanford.  Shira, I HATE YOU.  I love you, but I HATE YOU.  Hmmm, maybe I need some new medication.  I'm definitely sounding more and more schizoid these days.

Alina also wrote about Chess Design.  I absolutely adore this Chess Theme Bedroom - like WOW!  I have yet to finish my black/cream/red country French-themed bedroom -- too busy writing here, darlings.  It's been lingering and dying a slow death ever since Kevin painted out the room in 2009 from the dreadful pink I'd had since 1990 when I moved in - well, I did like it once.  To be truthful, these days the house looks like crap.  The only time I clean now is when I'm expecting company, but I sort of miss the days when I used to have House Beautiful.  And it was a Beautiful House.  No dust, no odd smells emanating out of the odd corner or from behind (or underneath) furniture, cleaned carpets, sparkling windows.  Now it looks like the Castle of Sleeping Beauty, that hasn't been touched in (fill in your own number here) years.  Cobwebs and spiders in the corners - I'm not kidding. WHERE THE HELL DO THEY COME FROM? 

Oy, I see the shade has already overtaken the front lawn and I've got to move my large pot of three white geraniums back into a sheltered spot.  We've been getting hard freezes here at night, but so far, thanks to draping them nightly in a big black towel and uncovering them when I hit the road at 7:15 a.m., those geraniums are not only blooming, they are setting more blooms!  I may have another miracle set of geraniums like the ones I had some years back that lasted well into December. Time to move on to other projects - like laundry and baking that apple pie I picked up the ingredients for earlier today during the weekly Saturday trek to the Pick and Save supermarket.  Cortland apples were on sale at only 0.98 USD a pound!  I couldn't resist. They are such beautiful apples, and perfect for baking.  I have a complaint though.  Pick and Save did not have the ready-made roll-out pie crusts prominently displayed.  I went through that damn gigantic store's dairy/cold and frozen aisles three times before I finally found them!  Geez Louise!  And how dare they try to foist off on me two ready-to-bake pie shells in cheap tin-foil pie plates for $4.99?  I mean, PLEASE!  I may have to finally resort to making my own.  EEK.  Double EEK.  Oh well, how hard can it be?  Certainly easier than learning how to play a sound chess game!

Speaking of which - one last word about me as chess coach:  Yes, darlings, I did actually talk about controlling the center of the board, why that is beneficial, how it's supposed to be done (hello, Ruy Lopez - never thought I'd ever say that and that sure isn't the way I play), and never ever making an intentional move, unless you wish to sacrifice a piece, without making sure the piece is both simultaneously attacking and protected from attack from the enemy forces.  Gee, I hate the way that sounds.  Maybe that's why I'm not so good at playing.  I don't like the premise.

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